What is an inventory?

An inventory is a document which lists the contents (and the condition of the contents) of the property. This includes everything from furniture, fixtures and fittings to doors, walls, ceilings, lights, flooring and so on. The inventory is ordinarily carried out at the start of a tenancy and details the condition of both the items and the property at that time. When signed by the landlord and tenant it becomes a legally binding document and an integral part of the rental agreement.

Who needs one?

Every landlord and tenant should have an inventory for each property, because the report outlines not only what’s in the property, but also the condition it’s in and this forms the basis for whether or not a full refund of the deposit is given to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.

Do I still need an inventory if the property is unfurnished?

Yes, because the inventory will also point out the condition of the walls, curtains, carpets, bathroom, kitchen appliances and the property as it stands. Some landlords believe that if their property is unfurnished, then they do not need an inventory, because there is very little that can be stolen, broken or damaged. However, just think about your beautiful white walls being painted pink and purple and the tenant leaves them in that state. Without an inventory if you deduct monies from the tenant’s deposit and the tenant sues, you’ll be out of pocket.

What is a check in report?

The check-in report compares the notes on the inventory to the content and condition of the property on the first day of tenancy to ensure that there is no variation since the inventory has been completed. It also records meter readings. It is imperative that the check-in report is agreed and signed by the landlord (or their representative) and tenant as it forms the basis of the agreement between them.

What is a check out report?

The check-out report is carried out on the last day of tenancy to record the condition and contents of the property. Any differences when compared with the check-in report are clearly highlighted.

What is a periodic inspection?

A periodic inspection takes place during the tenancy to ensure that maintenance and repairs are identified and addressed in good time. Regular inspections can prove to make economic sense too as prevention is often less costly and disruptive than cure.

Why use photographs?

Our experience shows the best way to avoid misinterpretations and disagreements is by combining the reports with photographs. Marks, scratches, stains and damage are photographed and serve to complement the written description and so avoid unpleasant disputes.

What about video reports?

As above.

Can anyone prepare the inventory report?

All inventories should be prepared by a trained inventory clerk. They are truly independent and will thoroughly survey your property and note everything. If you prepare an inventory yourself and the other party disagrees with the inventory he/she may refuse to sign it. Remember, you need a signature on the inventory to prove that it is valid. You may also miss something vital which leads to a financial loss later on. Judges do not look favourably upon inventories prepared by landlords because they see it as an amateur attempt to fulfil a duty.

Who pays for the inventory?

A common arrangement is for the landlord to pay, but there is no hard and fast rule.

Always have an inventory prepared by an inventory clerk. Although it’s another expense, it is some added insurance against losing money in the long run!